We take a look at what it means for an online casino to be properly regulated, including some of the best licensing jurisdictions and their expectations of online operators. This article will ultimately prove why we play at the online casinos that we do, and why online punters should only stick with casino sites that are fully licensed and regulated by upstanding gambling jurisdictions.
Best licensed online casino websites
The regulated casinos recommended in the table above are considered to be the best online casinos due to the fact they have a third party checking in regularly to ensure their operations are a cut-above the rest. These casinos are well-known for their reliable licensing, operating under the strict laws set by their gambling jurisdiction. Players can enjoy real money casino games at these sites with the comfort of knowing they are playing at a safe venue that’s overseen by leading gambling authorities, rather than just some rogue website operating under its own set of shifty rules.
The best casino licensing jurisdictions
We have read up on every gaming jurisdiction available around the globe and have compiled the top licensing jurisdictions here so you know which ones to look for when signing up to an online casino.
The top licensing jurisdictions include:
- UK Gambling Commission
- Gibraltar Betting & Gaming Association
- Malta Gaming Authority
- Curacao e-Gaming
- Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
- Alderney Gambling Control Commission
- Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Additionally, we recommend avoiding casinos licensed by Costa Rica as it is a poor licensing jurisdiction that grants licenses to many rogue Internet casinos. It’s important to be aware of which jurisdictions to trust and which to avoid, as just because an online casino has legal licensing, it doesn’t mean that jurisdiction operates safely or fairly. Stick with casinos licensed within the jurisdictions mentioned above and you can rest assured you are playing at a secure and regulated casino site.
What is online casino regulation?
When casinos went online, any transparency that exists with land-based gambling venues became clouded, as the online operator’s identity is now harder to trace. This means that while there are many online casinos that operate in a fair and honest manner, there are a select few that have taken advantage of the lack of transparency and have established casinos purely for the aim to scam players out of their money, and sometimes even their identity.
While we would love to say that every casino operating on the web is honest, fair, and exists in order to offer players an entertaining experience, the reality is that’s just not true. But that doesn’t mean we have to go in blind and cross our fingers hoping that the casino we are playing at isn’t rogue – instead we can rely on third party regulation, where legitimate gambling jurisdictions have been established to safeguard players and provide secure online gambling venues.
Regulation involves advanced gaming jurisdictions investigating and verifying that the operations of an online casino are honest and fair. It is how online players who play at offshore casino sites can play with the confidence of knowing they are using a safe and trustworthy venue.
So what exactly are advanced gaming jurisdictions?
Since the Internet doesn’t have borders it can be hard to define a single governing piece of legislation that regulates online gaming. Therefore, individual regions have their own jurisdiction that adhere to their governing legislation. Some jurisdictions are better than others due to the governing legislation being more advanced, but all are strict in terms of ensuring irresponsible gaming behaviour or criminal activity isn’t occurring.
The best jurisdictions have a balance between adhering to advanced gaming protocols, in terms of allowing it within their borders, and ensuring responsible gaming practices are upheld.
You will find many licensing jurisdictions either grant their licenses to anyone due to the lack of legislation and responsible gaming protocols, or are at the other end of the spectrum and can’t license applicants due to the overstrict protocols. The top licensing jurisdictions have the best characteristics from each.
In addition, it is important to be aware that every country has different laws surrounding online gambling, which is why most players have no choice but to play at casino sites licensed offshore. For more information about the gambling laws that apply in your country, read our global guide to online gambling laws here.
Regulated online casinos
For a full list of the best online casinos that are regulated by these upstanding jurisdictions, refer to our casino table at the top of this page. This table not only lists the top-rated, most reputable and safe real money casinos, but has also been geo-targeted to only recommend casinos that accept players from your country. You can use our table to read detailed reviews of each casino site, or sign up using our links to claim some sweet new player sign-up bonuses.
The reason we play at the online casinos recommended above is because they are licensed by the aforementioned licensing jurisdictions, meaning they have proven that they operate an above par Internet casino. In fact, we would never recommend anyone play at an online casino unless it was regulated by one of these trustworthy jurisdictions.
In addition, these casinos have extra measures in place to ensure player safety. They are protected by a minimum of 128 Bit SSL (secure socket layer) digital encryption security, with gaming software regularly audited by leading third-party testing agencies like eCOGRA. Customer service staff are on standby to assist with any player queries, and a range of safe, trusted payment options are available so you can deposit and withdraw money with no security issues.
What do the best licensing jurisdictions do?
Poor licensing jurisdictions grant any operator a license who is willing to pay for one, and do not intervene when an issue arises. Money is the major influence to these dodgy jurisdictions, with player protection the least of their concerns. It’s a whole different ball game with trustworthy jurisdictions, with the best, legitimate gambling jurisdictions working hard to protect players by carrying out the following duties:
- Ensure applicants undergo a stringent testing and application process
- Investigate the applicants thoroughly before granting a license
- Grant licenses only to applicants who prove themselves of a solid financial standing
- Test gaming software for fairness and unbiased results
- Perform and publish reports on the software for public consumption
- Review operator’s policies in terms of responsible gaming and safety
- Ensure online operators always have sufficient funds in order to pay winnings to their players
- Review transactions to ensure payouts are happening in line with local laws
- Ensure the gaming operator is running free from crime and money-laundering activity
- Investigate disputes, examine evidence, and resolve any issues
- Revoke licenses from operators that don’t uphold the jurisdictional standards
How to tell if an online casino is regulated
Regulation isn’t overtly displayed at online casinos, so it pays to be familiar with the information provided in this article so you know how to identify which casinos to trust and which to avoid.
Regulation information is typically situated at the bottom of the online casinos homepage, either in fine print or represented by the licensing jurisdiction’s logo. If you can’t see any info there, head to the casinos ‘About Us’ section, where they will provide an overview of the business including its licensing details. If there isn’t a logo or there is nothing in the fine print about being licensed, avoid playing here as it will leave you open to scams and unfair operations. As a general rule, a casino that has licensing from a trustworthy jurisdiction will be proud to display this information, so if they don’t include these details it’s probably safe to assume the casino is unlicensed.
Unfortunately, some operators can falsify that they have the accreditation from these jurisdictions. That is why it is always important to carry out your own research on the online casino you plan to play at. Simply enter the casino’s name in Google and the search terms ‘rogue’ or ‘blacklisted’ to see if it returns any information regarding poor operations by the online casino. We have done this for every Internet casino mentioned above, with each returning positive player reviews and a confirmation that the sites are honestly accredited by the advanced gaming jurisdiction that is indicated on their homepage.
If you are a complete newbie to the world of online gambling, it may help to read our beginners guide to online casinos.